What Is Spintax

What Is Spintax

Document spinning is a term for producing variations of a source document. A basic technique for spinning is spintax, which replaces text with alternate text. The hope is that if enough text is changed then the variations produced will be seen as unique content.

The term spintax is portmanteau made up of the words "spin" and "syntax." Spin refers to document spinning, and syntax refers to the special format that is used to embed spintax in documents. The idea of spintax is simple. A segment of document text is designated as a choice between alternate pieces of text. One of the choices is chosen at random during spinning.

Spintax for Words

Most often text segments of a single word are converted to spintax. Consider the following sentence for example.

The homework was hard.

The word "hard" could be designated with spintax to be either "hard" or "difficult." The sentence with spintax embedded would be:

The homework was {hard|difficult}.

There is no standard form of spintax but the most common one, sometimes called Jet format, is shown here. Jet format encloses spintax in braces with each choice separated by a vertical line character, sometimes called a pipe character. This spintax segment has two choices. One choice will be chosen at random during spinning, so two variations of the sentence can be produced. These are shown below.

The homework was hard.
The homework was difficult.

When spintax is used for words, the choices are usually synonyms so a sentence’s meaning is maintained or at least approximately maintained. The synonyms should be grammatically interchangeable so that all variations have correct grammar.

Phrases In Spintax

The choices in spintax do not have to be single words. Multiple word phrases can also be used. To demonstrate this, the phrase "not easy" can be added to the above example. Below is shown the example sentence with new spintax followed by the possible spins.

The homework was {hard|difficult|not easy}.

The homework was hard.
The homework was difficult.
The homework was not easy.

Optional Text Using Spintax

Many applications that use spintax support an "empty" choice. This allows optional text. To demonstrate, a spintax segment with an empty phrase is added to the example.

The {assigned|} homework was {hard|difficult|not easy}.

The assigned homework was hard.
The assigned homework was difficult.
The assigned homework was not easy.
The homework was hard.
The homework was difficult.
The homework was not easy.

The new spintax segment has the word "assigned" followed by a pipe character followed by no text. This illustrates how optional text can be used to omit adjectives, which can often be done without significantly changing a sentence’s meaning.

The example also demonstrates how the number of possible variations from spinning multiplies as more spintax is added. With a spintax segment or two added to each of a document’s sentences, the number of possible variations can be very large.

Optional text needs to be used carefully to avoid grammar errors. Consider the two sentences below.

The {scaly|} snake slithered.
The slithering snake is {scaly|}.

The first sentence produces good variations. The second can produce the nonsensical sentence "The slithering snake is ." When using optional text, documents should be tested by checking variations for grammar mistakes.

Nested Spintax

Nested spintax is spintax within spintax. When spinning, the outermost spintax is resolved by randomly selecting one of its choices. If the choice contains spintax then that spintax is resolved. This continues until there is no more spintax.

Continuing the example, "{assigned|} homework" can be turned into nested spintax. This is shown below with the possible spins.

{{assigned|} homework|assignment}

assigned homework

The first choice of the outermost spintax is the same as the previous example. It can resolve to two possibilities. The second choice has no spintax. Dropping this into the sentence being built gives the following sentence and possible spins.

The {{assigned|} homework|assignment} was {hard|difficult|not easy}.

The assigned homework was hard.
The assigned homework was difficult.
The assigned homework was not easy.
The homework was hard.
The homework was difficult.
The homework was not easy.
The assignment was hard.
The assignment was difficult.
The assignment was not easy.

Not all applications support nested spintax. Some that do restrict the depth of nesting, often to two levels. Even if an app does not support nesting, nested spintax such as our example can be flattened so there is no nesting. The flat version would be:

{assigned homework|homework|assignment}

Spintax Sentences and Paragraphs

Entire sentences or even paragraphs can be converted to spintax. For example, the following spintax randomly selects between two sentence choices.

{The dog wagged its tail.|The cat purred.}

Typically sentence choices will contain spintax words or phrases, so nested spintax is required. As the example being built demonstrates, it does not take much spintax to clutter a simple sentence and make it difficult to read. Combining multiple sentence choices that all contain spintax into a large block of spintax makes the situation worse, so working with spintax sentences requires a unique spintax editor to make dealing with the complexity easy and intuitive. This is even more true for spintax paragraphs.

Automated Spintax Addition

Many document spinning applications and services insert spintax into documents automatically. Spinning then produces variations that are grammatically incorrect, strangely worded, and often non-sensical. It is as though they are written by someone who barely speaks English. The variations are obviously spun, defeating the goal of being seen as unique content.

Th poor results are due to the nature of English. The biggest problem is words that have multiple meanings. The word "broke," as in broken, can also mean someone has no money. If the word is auto replaced with spintax for the wrong meaning then a sentence will be confusing.

Another problem are words that can be both verbs and nouns. The word "angle," as in "angle in degrees," can also be a verb synonym for "fish." A word like this will produce very bizarre spins when it is replaced with a word that not only has a different meanings but is also a noun replacing a verb or vice versa.

Some verbs have the same form for different tenses. A sentence’s grammar will be wrong if such a word is replaced with a synonym of the wrong tense.

A common problem is idiomatic phrases. These require specific words. If a word is changed, even if the change is to a direct synonym, then a known phrase becomes unexpected and weird, like it was written by someone who is not a natural English speaker.

The list of issues could continue but clearly there are serious problems with naively converting words into synonyms. This is important because search engines may use sophisticated algorithms that detect pages with incorrect grammar and decrease the ranking of those pages.

Recommendations for Spintax

Spintax should be added manually for best results. It is tempting to take the easy way out and use an automated service or software, but that will produce bad results. A good spintax editor will allow proper synonyms to be quickly and easily selected.

To make spun variations as different from one another as possible, sentences and paragraphs should be spun by converting them to large blocks of spintax. Out article "Spintax Is Not Enough" explains why this is necessary. Spinning sentences may not be easy with most spintax editors but a few, like whirlDOC, make it simple.

Finally, before actual use, variations of a document should be spun and checked for grammar errors, which can easily creep into a document as spintax is added.